BERKELEY -- Cal's blocking and tackling -- the two basic building blocks of football -- both were better Saturday in a 33-28 loss to Arizona.

Coach Sonny Dykes said the offensive line had its best day and the defense tackled better than it has all season.

He chalked up the improvement to continuity. "We've had some consistency in some of the players," he said, referring to the fact that the Bears haven't been forced by injuries to make lineup changes the past couple weeks.

Quarterback Jared Goff, who was not sacked, called offensive line's performance "probably their best game so far. They did a great job of protection."

The Bears' often woeful running game, which averaged 3.0 yards per attempt through eight games, picked up yards at a 5.0 clip against Arizona. Sophomore Daniel Lasco, back after missing two games with a shoulder injury, had 12 carries for 71 yards.

"Once we got our running game going a little bit, it allowed us to get a little more of a rhythm," Dykes said.

Earlier, Darren Ervin was thrown for a three-yard loss, resulting in the first safety the Bears have allowed since 2003. Dykes said the Bears missed an assignment, failing to pick up a blitz from the edge.

Defensively, the Bears keyed on Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, who is on pace to become the NCAA rushing champ for a second straight season. Carey ran for 152 yards -- just about his season average -- but needed 32 carries and never took over the game.

-- Redshirt freshman Kenny Lawler had touchdown receptions of 17, 3 and 29 yards to become the first Cal player with three TD catches in a game since DeSean Jackson in 2006. They were the first three touchdowns of Lawler's career.

"Kenny is coming along," Dykes said. "I had a good conversation with him in the locker room about how talented he is. His ball skills are pretty special.

"He needs to keep working on getting stronger, get a little more mature. When those things happen he has a chance to be pretty special."

Lawler's second TD catch was a spectacular one-handed, diving grab in the end zone. Officials reviewed the play, but Lawler said, "It was definitely a catch."

While quarterback Jared Goff couldn't decide whether Lawler's left-handed grab was the equal to Maurice Harris' highlight-reel TD catch vs. Portland State, Lawler was less overwhelmed.

"It was a routine play for me," he said.

-- Redshirt freshman Cedric Dozier made his starting debut at cornerback, becoming the 11th different player to start in the secondary.

"I think Cedric is going to be a good player," Dykes said. "I'm excited about him. He competes hard, he tackles well and is one of our more physical corners. He wants to get in there and mix it up.

"I'm really pleased with what I saw out of him."

-- The Cal student section at Memorial Stadium had perhaps 200 fans when the game began at 12:30 p.m. -- a bit early for college kids on a Saturday. It filled in gradually throughout the game, but never was close to capacity.

-- Sophomore Chris Harper had just four catches for 25 yards, but the first of those was the 100th of his career.

-- Freshman safety Cameron Walker had a career-high tackles total for the fourth straight game, this time with a team-high 13. He has 40 tackles over the past four games.

-- The Bears have set single-season records with 286 completions and 482 attempts.

-- Cal remains one of two FBS teams -- along with Hawaii -- that have allowed at least 30 points in every game.

-- Arizona now leads the all-time series with Cal by a 15-14-2 margin. The win was the first in Berkeley for the Wildcats since a 52-41 victory in 2002. The home team had won the previous six meetings.

For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.